Just as you might expect, a backlink is a link from a third-party website “back” to your website.
When search engines were first created, algorithms had to be developed to rank websites based on their prominence. One of the most important factors in these algorithms is how many other websites contain backlinks to a given website. In modern terms, backlinks are useful for improving a website’s SEO ranking.
Since backlinks are, by definition, contained on third-party websites that you don’t control, there is no way to include them on your own site. What you can do, however, is produce original and interesting content in order to encourage other websites to link to your content.
Note: In previous eras, some malicious actors would create hundreds of fake websites in order to produce backlinks as a way to improve a given website’s SEO ranking. This tactic no longer works. In fact, prominent search engine companies like Google will actually reduce the ranking of a website which is backlinked to by spam websites. That’s why it is essential to never buy backlinks or artificially inflate the number of backlinks to your site by joining so-called “link exchange networks.”
Backlinks are part of the fundamental ways in which the internet functions as a connected whole rather than just a series of isolated websites. Including links to other websites is a way for visitors to follow up on similar or recommended content, thus adding increased value for visitors. This is why prominent search engines value quality backlinks so highly.
Here are five terms that are typically associated with backlinks:
• Link Juice. Link juice is like a power-up in a video game. Whenever someone links to your web page, it adds extra power or “juice” to the ranking of your site.
• Do-Follow Link. All links that you or someone else adds into their web site is a do-follow link by default. These links all pass along link juice to increase web page ranking.
• No-Follow Link. No-follow links do not carry juice to help with web page ranking. These types of links are often used when a webmaster links to an unreliable site in order avoid something akin to guilt by association which might lower his own web site’s popularity.
• Root Domain Link. Another web site can link into your page dozens, hundreds or thousands of times because your site relates well with their content. Regardless of how many times they link to your site, they only count as a single root domain link.
• Low-Quality Link. These are links that come from automated sites, harvest sites, porn sites or spam sites. These links actually do more harm than good when it comes to SEO ranking.
Note: While you can never track all the backlinks to your website, your WordPress administration screen may contain a section called “incoming links,” which is a list of backlinks discovered by Google. There are also a number of WordPress plugins that you can install that can help you identify and track backlinks.